Monday, May 01, 2006

Today in History.....May 1

On this day in …

* 1851, the Great Exhibition opens to wide acclaim in the Crystal Palace in London. Inside the Crystal Palace, a giant glass-and-iron hall designed by Sir Joseph Paxton, more than 10,000 exhibitors set up eight miles of tables. Technological wonders from around the world were on display

* 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition was officially opened in Chicago by President Cleveland

* 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley," as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish fleet in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War

* 1921, radio signals guided ships through several approaches to New York Harbor. Originally called "radio fog signals," the beacons, established by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, sent out radio signals in all directions to guide ships

* 1931, New York's 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated

* 1945, a day after Adolf Hitler, ym"sh, committed suicide, it was announced that Admiral Karl Doenitz had succeeded Hitler as leader of the Third Reich

* 1948, the People's Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea) was proclaimed

* 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane near Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers

* 1963, James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington, becomes the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world

* 1967, Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas. (They divorced in 1973.)

* 1971, Amtrak -- which combined and streamlined the operations of
18 intercity passenger railroads -- went into service

* 1996, Yasser Arafat, ym"sh, received a statesman's welcome at the White House, where he met with President Clinton for 45 minutes, then lashed out at Israel for keeping its borders closed to "Palestinian" workers

* 1997, after 18 years of Conservative rule, British voters give the Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, a landslide victory in British parliamentary elections

* 2001, President Bush committed the United States to building a shield against ballistic missile attack. ALSO: FBI Director Louis Freeh announced his retirement. Thomas Blanton Jr. became the second ex-Ku Klux Klansman to be convicted in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Ala., that claimed the lives of four black girls

* 2005, on what was to have been her wedding day, "runaway bride"
Jennifer Wilbanks was led by Albuquerque, N.M., police to an airplane that flew her home to Georgia. ALSO: A car bombing at a Kurdish official's funeral in Tal Afar, Iraq, killed some two dozen people and wounded more than 50. Chinese computer maker Lenovo completed its purchase of IBM's personal computer division.

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